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The ROI of Multiple Small Releases

In a few minutes how do you explain the benefits of multiple incremental releases to someone new to this agile mindset?  I'm convinced that if I try to use words (which is typically the case when caught in a hallway conversation) or even words and a few quick sketches - I will not do justice to the complex concept.  Why?  Because this concept deals with multiple what if scenarios that play out in long timeframes with little feedback.

So needing to have this conversation today, I had the time to do a search for some help.  And I found this wonderful article and video with a voice over explanation.

Business Benefits of Software Release in Multiple Increments

And there is an interactive Wolfram graphic you can play with yourself.


Now with this link and the video explanation (done with a german accent I think, gives it real authority) - I can solve the problem of coming to that shared understanding.

Understanding the Iterative Incremental approach

I've also found it very difficult to express the true depth of the meaning of the phrase Iterative and Incremental.  Many people confuse these terms for each other - yet they have very distinct meaning in software development.  When combined into an synchronistic term the mean compounds exponentially.  I've yet to be able to explain this phenomenon to my audiences satisfaction, so let me point you to others that will do much better.

The first is Jeff Patton's article Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know How to Get It - Why knowing what you want in agile development may be an impediment to getting it.  The next is Steven Thomas' iteration upon Jeff's attempt, titled Revisiting the Iterative Incremental Mona Lisa.  And he illustrated this article with a riff upon Jeff's Mona Lisa images which I believe were derived from some famous artist, Banksy I think.
Drawing Mona Lisa Iteratively and Incrementally

Now add to that the enlightenment that Joanna Rothman describes in her article Iterations and Increments:
"Iterative approaches do refine the feature as you proceed. Incremental approaches allow you to release something (which you may have refined or not). I like both." 
"Iterative approaches manage technical risk. Incremental approaches manage schedule risk. Agile, which uses both iterative and incremental approaches manage both technical and schedule risk."
Now, I've watched as an artist creates a fine art portrait such as the Mona Lisa.... and all three of these Agile experts are just wrong.  Neither the iterative nor the incremental nor the iterative and incremental process is how Mark Stevenson paints.  It is better described as magic.  I suggest you go watch a master at any creative endeavor work... it cannot be easily explained by a methodologist.  Perhaps that's were we are going wrong...

See Also:

When you come to a fork in the road, take it - Probabilistic Decision Making by Larry Maccherone

Feedback Loops and "Done" by John Cutler



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Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?



Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: http://tinyurl.com/3br9o6n. Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, then yo…

Do You Put “CSM” After Your Name?

I’ve noticed a new trend—people have been gaining titles. When I was younger, only doctors had initials (like MD) after their names. I always figured that was because society held doctors, and sometime priests (OFM) in such high regard that we wanted to point out their higher learning. I hope it was to encourage others to apply themselves in school and become doctors also. Could it have been boastful?

The Wikipedia describes these “post-nominal initials”:
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. The order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. That’s good enough for me.
So I ask you: is the use of CSM or CSP an appropriate use of post-nominal initials?
If your not an agilista, you may wonder …

David's notes on "Drive"

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Introduction

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Agile Story Estimation via Dog Grooming Exercise

Practice story estimation techniques with this exercise in dog grooming.

Related Post:
Affinity Estimating: A How-To by Sterling Barton.
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   Slideshare:  Affinity Estimation - Size 60 Stories in about 20 Minutes.
For each dog below, estimate the work effort (size) required to groom the dog.  Assuming that you have the tools and experience to groom dogs.  Grooming includes washing, drying, combing, nail clipping, and hair triming in some cases.


Start with the ever popular:
Golden Retriever (22-24 in, 50-90 lbs).




The short haired Dachshund (15-28 lbs).



The Standard Poodle (15-18in, 40-80 lbs).




Bernese Mountain Dog (25-28 in., 65-120 lbs).




German Shepherd (23-26 in, 50-90 lbs).



Yorkshire terrier (5 in, <10 lbs).




Beagle (13-16 in, 18-35 lbs).



Boxer (26-31 in, 55-110 lbs).




Bulldog (40-55 lbs).





Labrador Retriever (21-25 in, 55-130 lbs).





Great Dane (28-38 in, 120-200 lbs).




Komondor (25-32 in, 90-130 lbs).